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Suspected paedophile held forth on sex trade

AN American serving pretrial detention on charges of possessing child pornography and purchasing child prostitution from four teenaged boys had been the subject of an investigation by the child rights NGO Action Pour Les Enfants for more nearly two years, its director said Tuesday.

During that same period, Alan Arthur Perry, who was arrested Friday, engaged in an online spat with a local blog over the nature of the child sex trade in Cambodia, which he described as overly reported.

In March of last year, Perry wrote a letter to the online news site Hawaii Reporter in response to a Voice of America article about human trafficking, which he described as “misleading and uninformed”. The letter reads in part: “With daily breathless reportage on human trafficking and child sex convictions, one is left with the mistaken impression that Cambodia is a place where one can simply walk down the street and pick out your favorite 13-year-old girl or boy for an hours [sic] pleasure. That is simply not the case.”

Perry, who runs the Deva Raja Villa Hotel in Sihanoukville, added: “I first came to Cambodia 15 years ago and now have lived here for 2 years and own a business. In all that time I have never witnessed any such activity nor could I direct anyone to any place which deals in such a thing.”

The blog Khmerization, which publishes daily news on Cambodia, published a severely critical response, arguing that the article had “shown that [Perry] is purely ignorant of the state of affairs of human trafficking and sex trades in Cambodia”.

In a reply, Perry said the blog had “obviously misunderstood the meaning or chose to misconstrue my words”.

Samleang Seila, APLE’s country director, said the group had been unable to find sufficienct evidence against Perry during its two-year investigation because he had been very “cunning”.

Be Sovanna, chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department, said his office’s investigation had begun just last month.

Preah Sihanouk prosecutor Bou Bunhang said a hearing in Perry’s case had not been scheduled.

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